Rheumatic diseases

Rheumatic diseases are not a question of age. They can affect adults, teenagers, and children. But often they are diagnosed at a late stage. Rheumatic diseases can be very painful and may significantly reduce the quality of life. They are one of the main causes of physical disabilities and, depending on the course, may reduce workplace productivity. As a result, they incur substantial economic and social costs. In Switzerland, the total annual medical costs amount to around 23 billion Swiss francs. The costs are therefore higher than those associated with the treatment of cardiovascular diseases (17 billion) and cancer (11 billion).

The most common chronic, inflammatory, rheumatic diseases include among others:

Rheumatoid arthritis: Inflammatory disease of the joints.

Axial spondyloarthritis: Inflammatory back pain. This includes a group of diseases that primarily affects the spinal column and tendon insertions. Distinctions are made between:

  • Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis: Inflammations on the spinal column or the sacroiliac joint. In this form, no structural changes can be detected in X-ray images.

  • Ankylosing spondylitis/«Bechterew's disease»: In this form, structural changes can be detected in X-ray images.

Psoriasis arthritis
Chronic inflammatory disease with two main characteristics: on the one hand, inflammation of the skin (psoriasis), and on the other hand inflammation of the joints (arthritis).

«The earlier a rheumatic disease is diagnosed and treated by a specialist, the sooner a patient can benefit from an improvement to their quality of life. We are dedicated to making a contribution towards educating the public on rheumatic diseases and enabling their early detection.»

Dr. Margit Lanzinger, Brand and Customer Manager Immunology, MSD Switzerland

We want patients to be able to lead a life as comfortable as possible.

That’s why we engage in cooperative programs with patient organizations, doctor’s associations and medical organizations to improve early detection, treatment, and rehabilitation for people with rheumatic complaints.

We also help educate the public on rheumatic complaints as they can affect anyone.

Partnership projects supported by MSD

Patient app

A practical app that can support therapy monitoring for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases when used in consultation with their doctors.
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The first online platform with exercise videos by specially trained physiotherapists for patients with «Bechterew's disease» a rheumatic illness.
To the website


Simple back exercises led by Dominique Rinderknecht and an online diagnostic test for people with back pain.
To the website

Patient Website «MSD Gesundheit Schweiz»

On the patient website MSD Gesundheit Schweiz, interested people can find information on the chronic inflammatory joint diseases rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (Bekhterev's disease) and psoriatic arthritis. They learn more about their causes, symptoms, progression and treatment options and get additional tips that can make their everyday lives easier.

Access patient website

CH-NON-00239, 10/2019